Electric Pickup Truck Manufacturer Scores Huge 'Climate' Order from Amazon

To show his company's commitment to becoming carbon neutral by 2040, Jeff Bezos announced Thursday that Amazon would purchase 100,000 battery-electric delivery vans from Michigan-based Rivian. The trucks will begin service in 2021.

Read Time: 3 minutes

September 23, 2019, 11:00 AM PDT

By Irvin Dawid


"The billionaire announced plans Sept. 19 to buy 100,000 electric vans from Rivian, custom-built for Prime deliveries, as part of an Amazon environmental initiative designed to meet the goals of the Paris climate accord 10 years early," report Chester Dawson and Keith Naughton of Bloomberg News (source article via Transport Topics). 

Amazon will start making deliveries with Rivian vans in 2021. By late the following year, Rivian expects to have 10,000 vehicles on the road, according to Amy Mast, a spokeswoman for the carmaker. The vans will be built at the company’s plant in Normal, Ill., purchased years ago from Mitsubishi Motors Corp.

"Rivian is a relatively new name in the electric vehicle industry, having only debuted its pickup truck and SUV at the end of November 2018," reports 

The aforementioned environmental initiative is called 'The Climate Pledge' which calls on signatories to be net-zero in carbon emissions across their businesses by 2040 — a decade ahead of the Paris Agreement’s goal of 2050.

"Bezos says he wants Amazon to be a role model for other companies, which is why he says Amazon will be the first company to sign on to the new pledge," reports 

Joining Bezos onstage was Christiana Figueres, a former executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Figueres is a founding partner of U.K.-based Global Optimism Ltd. "With this step, Amazon also helps many other companies to accelerate their own decarbonization," stated Figueres in a joint announcement at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

"If Amazon can set ambitious goals like this and make significant changes at their scale, we think many more companies should be able to do the same and will accept the challenge. We are excited to have others join.”

Companies who sign the pledge will agree to:

  • Measure and report greenhouse gas emissions on a regular basis;
  • Implement decarbonization strategies in line with the Paris Agreement through real business changes and innovations, including efficiency improvements, renewable energy, materials reductions, and other carbon emission elimination strategies; 
  • Neutralize any remaining emissions with additional, quantifiable, real, permanent, and socially-beneficial offsets to achieve net zero annual carbon emissions by 2040 [Note that the Paris climate agreement calls for achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.]

Timing of announcement

The Sept. 19 announcement, made at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., came a day before the youth-led Global Climate Strike. Also participating in the Friday event were "hundreds of Amazon employees from Amazon's Seattle headquarters, as did contingents from Amazon offices in Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Toronto, Dublin and other cities," reports James F. Peltz for the Los Angeles Times.

The group leading the Amazon walkout — Amazon Employees for Climate Justice — has spent this year urging Chief Executive Jeff Bezos and the rest of senior management to take more urgent steps, and the workers’ efforts are a key reason Amazon’s overall environmental footprint increasingly is coming under scrutiny.

On Monday, the UN Climate Action Summit 2019 convenes in New York. UN Secretary General António Guterres has told reporters that the summit is an opportunity to recognize the countries that are ahead of the curve and pressure other ones lagging behind," reports Umair Irfan, who covers climate change, energy, and the environment for Vox.

“Don’t come to the summit with beautiful speeches,” Guterres said at a press conference last month. “Come with concrete plans ... and strategies for carbon neutrality by 2050.”

Thursday, September 19, 2019 in Bloomberg News via Transport Topics

Chicago Commute

The Right to Mobility

As we consider how to decarbonize transportation, preserving mobility, especially for lower- and middle-income people, must be a priority.

January 26, 2023 - Angie Schmitt

Sharrow bike markings on black asphalt two-lane road with snowy trees

Early Sharrow Booster: ‘I Was Wrong’

The lane marking was meant to raise awareness and instill shared respect among drivers and cyclists. But their inefficiency has led supporters to denounce sharrows, pushing instead for more robust bike infrastructure that truly protects riders.

January 26, 2023 - Streetsblog USA

View of stone-paved street with pedestrians and "Farmers Market" neon sign on left and old buildings on right in Seattle, Washington

Push and Pull: The Link Between Walkability and Affordability

The increased demand for walkable urban spaces could make them more and more exclusionary if cities don’t pursue policies to limit displacement and boost affordability.

January 27, 2023 - Smart Cities Dive

Aerial view of residential neighborhood in La Habra, California at sunset

Orange County Project Could Go Forward Under ‘Builder’s Remedy’

The nation’s largest home builder could receive approval for a 530-unit development under an obscure state law as the city of La Habra’s zoning laws hang in limbo after the state rejected its proposed housing plan.

18 minutes ago - Orange County Register

Protesters with signs in Atlanta after Tyre Nichols murder

Memphis: Crime-fighting Camera Sheds Light on Police Abuse

The irony is unmistakable. Public surveillance cameras, long controversial in the criminal justice community, provided pivotal video footage of the beating of motorist Tyre Nichols by five Memphis police officers at a traffic stop on January 7.

1 hour ago - The New York Times

Photo of cars on two-way separated highway with illustrated lines between them indicating tech-driven decisions

How Autonomous Cars Could Impact Energy Use

The complex algorithms used by self-driving vehicle technology use massive amounts of energy, which could lead to a steep rise in carbon emissions as autonomous cars become more commonplace.

2 hours ago - Dezeen